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Man accused of nearly killing state police Cpl. Seth Kelly is unlikely to argue mental health, lawyer says

Morning Call - 4/20/2018

April 20--A Monroe County man accused of opening fire on two Pennsylvania State Police troopers, critically injuring one of them, is unlikely to offer a mental-health defense at trial, his defense lawyer said Friday.

Daniel K. Clary, 22, faces two counts of attempted murder of a police officer and other charges in the roadside shooting on Route 33 in Plainfield Township that nearly killed Cpl. Seth Kelly.

In February, Clary lawyer Janet Jackson raised the possibility of an insanity or diminished-capacity defense, saying experts needed to evaluate whether her client has mental conditions, and also whether he is competent to face trial.

Those evaluations have been conducted and the defense does not plan to contest Clary's competency, Jackson said Friday after a pretrial hearing before Northampton County President Judge Stephen Baratta.

Jackson said she also does not anticipate offering a mental-heath defense at trial.

"At this point, I don't intend raising those issues," Jackson said.

APRIL GAMIZ / THE MORNING CALL

Scene of emergency personal responding to the shooting of Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Seth Kelly at Routes 191 with 33 in Northampton County.

Scene of emergency personal responding to the shooting of Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Seth Kelly at Routes 191 with 33 in Northampton County. (APRIL GAMIZ / THE MORNING CALL)

The Nov. 7 shooting left Cpl. Seth J. Kelly critically wounded, injuries for which he was hospitalized for nearly a month. Authorities say Kelly suffered gunshot wounds to his neck, shoulder and thigh, and may have saved his own life by applying a tourniquet on his wounded leg before paramedics arrived.

First Deputy District Attorney Terence Houck has said he will be seeking a conviction and sentence under which Clary remains in prison for the rest of his life. Houck has said he believes Clary's mental health was immaterial to his alleged actions.

Police said the encounter on the side of the highway started with a routine traffic stop and a driver who acted strangely. But when Trooper Ryan Seiple and Kelly tried to arrest Clary on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, police said matters quickly took a violent turn.

Clary was also wounded in the melee, when Kelly and Seiple returned fire after the shooting erupted, authorities said.

After fleeing, Clary drove himself to Easton Hospital, authorities said, and was hospitalized for five days. But the Chestnuthill Township man is now jailed under $1 million bail.

A trial date has yet to be scheduled, according to the attorneys.

Northampton County Prosecutor Terry Houck reacts to Daniel Clary's preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

Northampton County Prosecutor Terry Houck reacts to Daniel Clary's preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

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